If you find yourself wishing you could interact more with your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, you might consider exploring the possibilities offered by modern technology. All across the world, people are using things like Skype and social networking to connect with family and friends from whom they are separated by great distances.
It only makes sense that seniors would tap into the power of such technology to be involved in planning holiday get-togethers and simply having conversations about shared interests to pass the time. There's no reason why you can't watch some of the same TV programs as friends and add your opinion and reactions to plot twists.
Here are 5 ways to stay connected to friends and family using technology:
As great as a phone call is, texting is where it's at these days, especially with teens. Quick and concise, a short message typed on a smartphone may be more enthusiastically received than a voice call that requires us to be in a quiet place and focus all of our attention on listening/speaking. That probably sounds cold and impersonal, but just think of the luxury this gives family to read your text and discreetly respond while they are sitting at work or shopping in a noisy store.
Use Email for times when you have more to say than you can convey in a simple text message. Setting up email is as easy as opening a Yahoo or Google account and finding out what your loved ones' email addresses are so you can send them a message. Very few people take the time to sit down and create a handwritten letter anymore. Email allows us to quickly express what we need to tell others, so bear that in mind when emailing loved ones. Keep it brief if you want to have your message read. The longer, more detailed conversation you want to have can flow from a back-and-forth dialogue this opens in follow-up responses. Email's also great for sending photos or other files. These days, you don't even have to own a computer to send and receive email – just a mobile phone.
SKYPE OR FACETIME
Imagine spending 10 minutes making silly faces with your granddaughter or reading a picture book to your grandson. On the website Grandparent.com, author Barbara Graham writes, "Seeing the kids on a computer screen is not the same as hugging, snuggling, tickling, or kissing them, but it is an enormous improvement over mere phone calls, especially when the little ones can't yet carry on a conversation.
People today love sharing their lives on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and other platforms. Even if you don't talk directly to someone that often, you can typically get a sense of what's going on in their life as the channel broadcasts their written thoughts, their photos, even what music they are listening to. Some social networks include chat components that function similar to texting. Even if you don't have personal accounts, many Regency facilities have Facebook Pages that allow family to see what activities are going on.
If your grown children are regularly taking photos, they can create online galleries and invite you to view them at any time. You can add your own photos to the shared family gallery, creating a virtual scrapbook. On the website Grandparent.com, author Sharon Lovejoy writes, "When you ask your grandchildren to show you what their lives are like by taking pictures of their friends, pets, schools, or trips, you will surely get a response. The next time the kids visit, you can talk about the pictures together." Photo sharing is a way to passively connect with people even if you aren't directly exchanging back and forth messages that often.
These are 5 of the ways you can use modern technology to have a larger presence in the lives of loved ones when they can't visit you in person as often as you'd like to see them. If you have grown children who accommodate your desire to look into their family life and you aren't too intimidated by technology, there's no reason why your interactions can't extend beyond that all-too-precious time when you get to see them in person.